Regards from Zagreb!

09.07.2016 - 21.08.2016

Zagreb through films, photographs and postcards in the period from 1891 to 1927

The golden period of printed postcards and analog photography is behind us, the desire for recording larger than ever. In this contemporary, chaotic visual kaleidoscope, classic postcards, photographs and motion pictures are helping to slow down the view focused on the known coordinates that bind us to the (common) past: places, people, habits.

The syntagm Regards from Zagreb is a common denominator for postcards and the numerous lines written on the back of photographs and postcards.

In 1840 D. Novaković already recorded motives of Zagreb and its surroundings, and since 1856 the city has his first permanent photographer, a Danish immigrant Franjo Pommer. The first amateur photography club gathered around the Society of Arts and Crafts in 1892, while in 1910 the first international exhibition of photographic art was held precisely at the Art Pavilion (on the initiative of painter Crnčić).

The arrival of film in Zagreb took place almost simultaneously with global screenings - in 1899, only a year after the Paris projection of the Lumière brothers. These films provide us with an insight into everyday life, showing insignificant little things which shape the rhythm of the city; but even these short films witness to the rise and importance of film as a way of recording and capturing the key events concerning the city and state to which it belongs.

The exhibition Regards  from Zagreb shows Zagreb in the years of construction of the Lower Town, restoration and regulation of the Capitol, from the mid 19th to the early 20th century. The time frame of the exhibition also makes reference to the approaching celebration of the 120th anniversary of the opening of the Art Pavilion (1898), indicating other important units, which to this day form the backbone of the view of the city.

Within decades Zagreb stems from a small town with only 19,000 inhabitants (1860) to a (provincial) city with a population of more than 100,000 permanent inhabitants (1920), going through a process of modernization in the periphery of the Empire (the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy), becoming, after the World War I, part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (1918).

It is a time of great change - because of the idea of the Croatian National Revival (1835-1848), but also because of the reconstruction following the big earthquake in 1880 and accelerated economic growth. The regulatory basis of the city was being made, important objects, as well as established institutions, theaters and museums were being built, and with the previously existing units such as the Upper Town, the Ban Jelačić Square or Maksimir Park, they created a framework of representative city landscapes that to date provides a view of the city's most beautiful postcards.

At the end of the 19th century urban, suburban and regional transport (horse tram, roads, railways) was developing. Since it was faster to travel to both closer and distant destinations, passengers wanted to tell where they were using a short and picturesque postcard. By selecting already made motifs or special ordered ones, their own picture-postcard, submitters tell about themselves, their status - who they were, what they were doing, making postcards a common mode of communication and tourism promotion, part of our identity today.

By entering the shade of the Art Pavilion we are plunged into the already played time, time of travel and relaxation in the time before us, through images that speak of the city, but also of spending leisure time. These pictures show the past of the places (nearly unchanged) which are up to date the source of the greatest comfort for the city residents and city visitors.

Sanja Bachrach-Krištofić

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